Berlin: Champions League hopefuls Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach proved way too strong for Bundesliga strugglers Paderborn and Union Berlin with 6-1 and 4-1 wins on Sunday, said dpa.
Bottom side Paderborn resisted bravely but Jadon Sancho’s hat-trick, Thorgan Hazard, Achraf Hakimi and arare strike from veteran Marcel Schmelzer took Dortmund within seven points of leaders Bayern Munich despite Uwe Huenemeier’s penalty consolation.
But with just five games remaining in the season delayed by the coronavirus epidemic an eighth successive title for Bayern is considered inevitable.
Gladbach went behind Dortmund into third on goal difference from Bayer Leverkusen as Marcus Thuram’s double led them over Union. Both Sancho and Thuram paid tribute to George Floyd, killed at the hands of American police this week, in their goal celebrations.
Bayern crushed Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0 on Saturday to follow-up their crucial 1-0 win at Dortmund on Tuesday. Fifth-placed RB Leipzig, the final side in Champions League contention, can go third again with a win at Cologne on Monday.
Dortmund were without teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland who picked up an injury against Bayern and initially struggled to break down determined Paderborn, who look increasingly doomed eight points from the play-off place.
Eventually quality told though and Hazard nudged home when keeper Leopold Zingerle spilled a 54th minute cross from Emre Can.
Just three minutes later Julian Brandt was provider for Sancho to tap in and he lifted his shirt to reveal “Justice for George Floyd” on his vest.
And the England international drilled a brilliant second to settle the tie straight after Huenemeier’s spot kick, which harshly awarded against Can for handball.
Hakimi and Schmelzer, with his first goal since 2013, struck before Sancho broke clear to complete his hat-trick. The three goals in the final five minutes added a fair reflection to the scoreline as Paderborn faded.
“I have said almost nothing,” coach Lucien Favre said of his approach at half-time. “Just that we had to keep playing.” The Swiss explained he was confident Paderborn could not maintain their level of performance in matching Dortmund and would tire.
“In the first half, we did not let Dortmund build,” said Huenemeier. “The result does not match the game.”
Gladbach were in control from the start against Union in front of several thousand cardboard cut-out fans in the stadium which was otherwise empty.
Florian Neuhaus tested visiting keeper Rafal Gikiewicz with an audacious effort from the half-way line but did make the breakthrough in the 17th minute.
Several defenders failed to halt Neuhaus’ run across the box and he found the net via the post.
“That is naturally a nice number,” Neuhaus said of scoring Gladbach’s 3,000th Bundesliga goal. “But I am much happier about the win in the battle for the Champions League.”
Union have taken just one point since the restart in the middle of the month and never threatened an equalizer before Thuram’s back-post header.
French forward Thuram, who took a knee in celebrating in support of the current protests in the US, completed his brace midway through the second half by converting again from Alassane Plea’s cross.
Gladbach coach Marco Rose said “everyone supported” Thuram’s sign against racism. Plea himself got on the scoresheet with a fine finish late on.
Union had cut the deficit moments after the restart through Andersson’s close-range finish from a free kick but rarely looked capable of taking something.
“When we produce so many mistakes then at the end it will be difficult to win a game,” admitted Union coach Urs Fischer.
Promoted Union are 14th and just four points above the bottom three having not won in six.
Source: Bahrain News Agency